We offer a free book-building, peer learning workshop that inspires and empowers young people in the United States, and in other countries to share their lives and communities through the publishing of their own stories.
On Wednesday February, 8th �I was delivered to Escula Peters Public School in Sarchi. �Rosemary, Raquel and Ismael,
an artist family who hosted me back in October 2011 hosted me again in
their home town of Gercia, the town next to Sarchi. They delivered me to
Jenny, Escula Peters English teacher who took me in
for three days with her two beautiful children. I was welcomed into a
very warm and loving family and school. Zaira Rodriguez,
the schools principle welcomed me very warmly with all the teachers.
Jenny was the only interpreter for me at the school but my very broken Spanglish and sometimes checking with Google Translate, got me through it.
Please visit the Sistema Educativo Escula San Isidro Labrador page!
My third, one day, two hour workshop in Costa Rica had to be organized, powerful and fast! The previous afternoon workshops with GMCR better prepared me. I had fine tuned more efficient teaching techniques. I did have one adult assistance from the school, Monika Rojas (English teacher) but mostly children assistants. I decided to focus only on the painting exercise but to leave enough room at the end for a quick demonstration on how to use our artwork to cover recycled containers, the children had collected. The students were so cooperative and I felt my Spanglish was improving at this point.
During my three-week stay I visited a very successful food security project in the Monte Alto Mountains outside of Nicoya. I felt this was a very important project for me to see and share with others. We began our trip with visiting the feed store to pick up the Tilapia pellets for the artificial ponds we were to visit. As we drove up into the mountains and farming communities the views were amazing, the best I had seen thus far in Coast Rica! Along the way I was shown an earth oven which was successfully being used to bake bread. Howler monkeys with their babies were curious about our presence or annoyed. The journey was rough and long and barely a road. I enjoyed a native dish for lunch and wonderful company with a family we visited. I was so impressed with how well each family was living off the land, so remote and isolated. It was some adventure I will never forget!
(Some photos represented in slide show are courtesy of Adolfo Salinas Acosta)
The food security project is of great interest to me because without proper nutrition children do not develop as well. Basic academics without the arts also is not good for a developing child if not balanced with; art, music, sports and definitely proper nutrition. So, I saw an important connection for Kids Share Workshops and Partners of the Americas to possibly expand in the area of environmental exploration with an exciting Food Security project focused on building artificial ponds in drought prone areas of Costa Rica.
Continue to read this story and see the slide show please visit this link: Food Security Project (Artificial Ponds)
(Please see slide show below!) Arriving at the Community Center in Naranjo: Later in the afternoon after visiting coffee farms, we arrived at the community center in Naranjo where the Kids Share program got started. Some of the GMCR employees decided to join Winston horse back riding through the coffee farm while others stayed to volunteer with children from the communities of Naranjo and San Ramon.
What we did in two hours: 1. Played a fun game of Futbol/Soccer to help us all get to know each other. 2. A quick presentation was given to help everyone visualize what KSW (Kids Share Workshops) is about. 3. Setting up and learning how to be careful with our friends while painting. 4. Painting and hanging artwork 5. Learning how to decorate recycled containers 6. Awards & Snack
Each school KSW reached some art supplies were left thanks to the generous donations made by many of the GMCR employees and Winston Rost, who wanted to leave something behind. At this community center the computers the employees brought from Vermont were also donated and very appreciated. To give back to children, especially those who receive little enrichment learning in rural and developing countries, this was a very rewarding experience for all of us. GMCR employees made a big difference in these kids lives and they will never forget you!
On the last morning with GMCR I said goodbye to the employees and thanked them for their very hard work and generous support with the kids. I wanted to do something fun as my thank you, so I gave two of my artist prints away in a name raffle. I wish I could do more for my appreciation of their help. Volunteering with children is so rewarding for me, especially when others want to pitch in during their vacation or free time.
I also am grateful they were so patient with me since my Spanish is a work in progress (started learning at 40!) and I have taught very few 2 hour programs. It was a bit of a challenge for me to figure out how to give an enrichment program I had created in two hours which was designed for two-five weeks, but I felt with the support of others the kids were left happy and got a sense of how we can all work together cross culturally through art and exploring.
A Special Thanks to the GMCR employee photographers; Reid Greenberg, Steven Caggiano and Michael Yaeger and Lorena Frias from Sister Schools. Their photographs are making it possible for the 2012 Costa Rica blog to cross culturally share!
Stay Tuned! I will be taking you for the next two weeks to the Sister Schools with Partners of the Americas!
The photo slide show below is a wonderful and quick step by step visual in cross cultural sharing during our time at the Community Center in Naranjo. Please take a moment and enjoy the day with us!
“Our 2012 Arts, Recycling and Cross Cultural Sharing through Skype workshops in Costa Rica, with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) Employees and Partners of the Americas-Sister Schools was a huge success! I was a bit nervous to take on five school locations in three weeks, but the warmth and support of Costa Rican’s opening their homes, hearts and time volunteering with me made it an absolutely wonderful experience! The GMCR employee team who volunteered 2-3 hours with kids for two days was amazing! Employees brought extra art supplies and donated GMCR lap top computers and I brought over 60 Highlight, Lady Bug and National Geographic Magazines. In the rural coffee communities often books and computers are scarce. From the youth to the adults everyone had a wonderful time and I sometimes wondered if the adults were having the most fun!
To continue to read this story please visit:(2012) Workshops, Living, Coffee, Dishes & Food Security
To read about our first workshop in 2012 visit: La Hilda Estates.
via La Hilda Estates.
Please scroll down to see more images and to learn about OxCarts!
A note from Kristina:
“I am so excited to be sharing this next blog posting with you!
Back in November 2008 I began the very first Kids Share Workshops (known then as Portraits for Charity) in Windy Kelley’s classroom with a wonderful group of kids and one very special child, Ash Brittenham, who was turned into a super hero! The children learned how to create tissue art, similar to the Eric Carle technique. They created their own group illustrations and had their work placed in two paintings of Ash. Their wonderful cultural connection was with the Tibetan Children’s Village in Bylakuppe, India. (See images in slideshow below)
The excitement I felt last week was super to be able to return to Windy’s classroom, meet her new wonderful group of 5th graders and make the very very first Sister School (Partners of the Americas) Costa Rica and Vermont connection! On January 17th Windy’s students were able to ask Lorena Frias, president of Sister Schools (Partners of the Americas) in Costa Rica and coordinator with Kids Share Workshops some interesting questions via skype. We even got to met her 15 year old nephew Gabrielle and ask him some questions! It was very successful and exciting for us to see Lorena in her home in Costa Rica!
After some discussion and thought Windy agreed to sign up her classroom to be the very first sister school partner with Costa Rica in Vermont! Lorena facilitated Windy and I to help make that connection.
Our first sister school will be with Escuela Peters in the rural, beautiful artist community of Sarchi, Costa Rica! I enjoyed meeting many of the students last October and I am very excited to return and teach the KSW program! The community of Sarchi is famously known of its beautiful Oxcart designs which can be seen on bridges, large decorative wheels, Oxcarts and store fronts! You can see a sample of this and read about Oxcarts below.
I will be leaving for Costa Rica January 27 to teach for two weeks. Our exchange will be February 8-10, a three day program at Escuela Peters. We will be connecting with Windy’s classroom at 11:00 am in Vermont and 10am in Costa Rica’s time. I have designed a simple exchange for each 30 minute skype classroom meeting. Day 1: introductions, Day 2: Share something from home and finally Day 3: make our Pen Pal exchanges for the remainder of the school year. Windy will be receiving updates from Sister Schools and her new connection with Escuela Peters throughout the year. Kids Share Workshops will help facilitate the on-going connection we hope to keep each year.
Wish us luck as we make our first cross cultural connections with Costa Rica and Vermont Kids!
As always, thank you for your support and I will see you in Costa Rica!”
-Kristina Applegate, Program Director and Founder of Kids Share Workshops
*A special thanks to Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s Farmer Relations Manager, Winston Rost! Without the funding and support from GMCR this exchange with Vermont and Costa Rica would not have been possible. Kristina will be teaching in 3-4 Sister School Communities and 2 GMCR coffee communities January/February 2012. Art supplies and more are being donated by GMCR and Kristina’s travel expenses.
THE OXCARTS OF SARCHÍ Sarchí is famous as the home of gaily decorated wooden carretas(oxcarts), the internationally recognized symbol of Costa Rica. The carts, which once dominated the rural landscape of the central highlands, date back only to the end of the 19th century. Sadly, they are rarely seen in use today, though they are a common decorative item.
At the height of the coffee boom and before the construction of the Atlantic Railroad, oxcarts were used to transport coffee beans to Puntarenas, on the Pacific coast–a journey requiring 10-15 days. In the rainy season, the oxcart trail became a quagmire. Costa Ricans thus forged their own spokeless wheel–a hybrid between the Aztec disc and the Spanish spoked wheel–to cut through the mud without becoming bogged down. In their heyday, some 10,000 cumbersome, squeaking carretas had a dynamic impact on the local economy, spawning highway guards, smithies, inns, teamsters, and crews to maintain the roads.
Today’s carretas bear little resemblance to the original rough-hewn, rectangular, cane-framed vehicles covered by rawhide tarps. Even then, though, the compact wheels–about four or five feet in diameter–were natural canvases awaiting an artist. Enter the wife of Fructuoso Barrantes, a cart maker in San Ramó n with a paintbrush and a novel idea. She enlivened her husband’s cart wheels with a geometric starburst design in bright colors set off by black and white. Soon every farmer in the district had given his aged carreta a lively new image.
By 1915, flowers had bloomed beside the pointed stars. Faces and even miniature landscapes soon appeared. And annual contests (still held today) were arranged to reward the most creative artists. The carretas in fact, had ceased to be purely functional and had become every farmer’s pride and joy. Each cart was also designed to make its own “song,” a chime as unique as a fingerprint, produced by a metal ring striking the hubnut of the wheel as the cart bumped along. Supposedly, the intention was to allow the farm owner to hear his laborers. Once the oxcart had become a source of individual pride, greater care was taken in their construction, and the best-quality woods were selected to make the best sounds.
Today, the carretas forced from the fields by the advent of tractors and trucks, are almost purely decorative, but the craft and the art form live on in SarchÍ, where artisans still apply their masterly touch at two fábricas de carretas (workshops), which are open to view. A finely made reproduction oxcart can cost up to $5,000.
The Ox-cart Museum, in Salitral de Desamparados, on the southern outskirts of San José, has displays of campesino life, including a collection of hand-painted oxcarts, in a typical old adobe house. Also, the Pueblo Antigua, outside San José, has a living museum featuring the carts.